Communication, they say, is the most powerful of the gifts of man over other species. Undoubtedly, it has grown to be the most crucial one too. Remember that guy in college who could get anything done over the phone? Yeah, he was not a genius. He was just good at networking, which, by the way, is no rocket science! So here we are with 10 fabulous tips for better networking and building links.
10. Do not look at the strings attached
Most people make this huge mistake of looking at the person’s job, achievements, nationality, religion, economic status or any other peripheral things instead of the person himself. All these things really do not matter at the end. Moreover, effective communicators never even look at all these sides! The day you look at the advantages you could get from a person, you slaughter the networks that could be built between you two. The wisest thing, probably, is to stay connected, even if you cannot find any immediate advantage. In order to master the technique of networking with people, it is very important to remember that all connections are not meant to take an advantage of!
9. Know the background
Often we are aware of the fact that we are about to meet a person of a different country/institute/company or background and yet we are indifferent to small details. In order to bond with anybody and network well, it is necessary to bond well the first time. Make sure you read up a little (takes up less than 5 minutes) about their background or check out their profile on Facebook/LinkedIn to get to know their interests so that you have something interesting to talk to them about. That way they would never forget the person they met at a conference who knew the author they admire the most!
8. Be humble and polite
Most often people believe that a particular person would not be of any advantage to them at any point of time in life. There would always be that one time when only that person could help you. Well, even if that doesn’t happen, it never hurts to be cordial and nice to everyone. Be polite, soft-spoken and energetic. People remember the haughty one too but for the wrong reasons
7. Stand out
As you meet dozens of people daily, so do others. The key to build an effective network then is to make sure you stand out of those dozens of people for everyone you meet. This could be as simple as always having your visiting card handy so that the other person remembers you or probably complimenting them on their work or clothes. Once they remember you outside the crowd, they would remember you whenever you call them next!
6. Technology, yaay!
With the advent of super convenient technology, you do not have to remember your connections’ birthdays, anniversaries etc. You have Facebook/LinkedIn telling you that. But how do we make this better? Just make sure that instead of posting a “happy birthday” to their wall, make a call while you are driving to work maybe. 2 minutes of a call wouldn’t hurt you but you would be standing out of the 200 birthday posts they do not even look at on their wall.
5. Virtual love
No! I don’t intend to ask you to post a 20 line long birthday post on how you love them so much etc. Just use the other end of technology. You can send them virtual birthday/anniversary cards (if you are Uncle Scrooge!) or even better if they mean a lot to you personally, then you could order a cake to be delivered to their place. Trust me, those 400 bucks would give you a friend for a lifetime.
4. Smile when you take a call
Yeah, I know voice calls are not video calls but trust me the energy and vivacity would be infectious and it could make their day! When you smile while picking up the call, it can be felt from miles apart. Who does not want to talk to people who exude positivity! You would then be surprised to see how people take efforts to stay connected with you and share their concerns or seek opinions on matters you are not a professional at.
3. Recognize and smile back
There would be instances where people would run into you on a busy road and ask about your wife or your parents or your work and you have absolutely no clue who they are or you cannot recall where you met them. Doesn’t even matter. Just strike up the conversation and ask general questions. Over the conversation, look for hints to recall who that person is. If not the best way, tell them you lost their number due to your phone issues and when they give you their number, search it in your phonebook/true-caller. Smart eh?
More often than not, the excuse that people give for losing out on their connections is that they are BUSY. Once you can shove these excuses under the rug, you would know that everyone has 24 hours! So prioritize your time and make sure you are connected to them on at least the most important days in their lives.
1. Have a big heart
This one kind of summarizes everything that you need to do to make bonds that last a lifetime and cut across barriers of differences. Don’t be a miser be it money, compliments, pleasantries or warmth! If economics is your weak nerve, think of it as a one-time long life investment. Make sure you have a pleasant smile when you connect with people and you are honest and kind-hearted. Everything else will automatically fall into place!
These are little pieces of advice which would help you make to not only good networks but also maintain them! Try them out and let us know what difference they make to the way people look at you!
P.S. – I took small gifts for quite a few people at the Conference at Harvard University, Boston and guess who has these lovely presents from all corners of the world and warm friends in so many countries! Plus, I have a Malaysian friend staying with me for a week next Monday!